An Abiding Standard: The Prints of Stanley Anderson at the Royal Academy of Arts
Stanley Anderson dedicated his artistic life to creating etches, engravings and drawings of immense detail and skill. An Abiding Standard exhibits some of his most well-known works, alongside other lesser-known pieces in order to provide an overall idea of his own personal philosophy, for which he became renowned as an artist.
Anderson dedicated himself mostly to portraying the lives of those disenfranchised in society, the poor and homeless, and the disappearing rural crafts in Britain that represented a certain nostalgia for the past through alternative ways of living that did not necessarily pertain to early 20th century society. Following his travels around the continent, Anderson also produced etchings of landscapes in France such as Le Marché, Falaise, a bold and striking depiction of a marketplace in Paris. While Anderson was very much a skilled artist, he did not wish to be associated with other artists, but rather with the workers and craftsmen who became his most prominent subjects from the 1930s onwards. His use of darkness in both lighting and theme provides his work with a compelling atmospheric reality; Venus and Adonis demonstrates Anderson’s desire to present the downtrodden in society.
Although Anderson used his medium to denounce social and living conditions in his society, The National Gallery shows how he was also rather unforgiving of the disregard for the art. Visitors to the gallery, lacking in cultural knowledge, are asleep on the benches and uninterested in their surroundings. Despite the public utilising the free and clean space in order to sleep, Anderson does not romanticise their ignorance.
An Abiding Standard is an enlightening exhibition of society in Britain and Europe in the 20th century, capturing the ordinary person and city landscape in an extraordinarily lively manner.
An Abiding Standard: The Prints of Stanley Anderson is at the Royal Academy until 24th May 2015, for further information visit here.